Looking to train in Chinese Straight Sword

Discussion in 'Chinese Swords and Sword Arts' started by isshinryu guy, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. isshinryu guy

    isshinryu guy White Belt

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    Ok, I will be honest right up front. I have no access to training with the Chinese straight sword. I have no schools which teach that art in my area. I am looking to train entirely on my own, simply for fun and personal enjoyment.

    I know there are different styles, and different DVD's, and books, etc. I was thinking of studying different forms from the styles. I would like to learn a southern Hung Gar style, a northern Shaolin style, some Tai-Chi (Yang, or Chen, etc), and maybe some Wudang forms, etc. I know that the Wing Lam kung fu site has a number of DVD's on various styles. I was actually playing with some Hung Gar using his DVD's. They are easy to learn from, and include applications for the movements.

    I have no illusions of teaching, or claiming to posses any great skill or to pass my self off an expert. I just love to do forms, and would learn them for my self. I would love to be in a park, just doing the forms for fun.

    Does anyone have a suggestion as to where to start? Where is a good place to learn fundamentals before moving onto the more advanced stuff. I was thinking that something like the simplified Yang Tai-Chi 32 movement form would be a good place to start.

    What are your thoughts on learning forms from different styles, rather than focusing on one style?

    Let me know what you think...Thanks.
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think you should buy a cheap sword or a wooden trainer, and just make up your own stuff. The end result will be about the same.
     
  3. jonpalombi

    jonpalombi Yellow Belt

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    Hey Ishinryu Guy,

    I admire your honesty and obvious desire to study jianfa. I don't completely agree with Flying Crane, in regards to self-study-training (nor do I think it is appropriate to be sarcastic to a sincere person). There can never really be serious progress without a qualified Sifu, yet one can comprehend quite a bit of the essence of any martial system, through observation and mimicry. Not really enough but you did mention having fun and enjoying diverse sword forms practice. The crack about making up your own stuff, was just plain rude.

    Forms, in this regard (especially sword forms), require the objectivity, direction and encouragement of an accomplished, hands-on instructor. At least, in optimum circumstances? I have found that books, videos, DVDs, etc... always fall short of the traditional teacher-student interaction.

    That being said, most experienced martial artists possess the ability to adapt to alternate styles, so I do encourage you to practice the art of "Chinese straight sword". Now, while it's wonderful to be ambitious, in my humble opinion... initially, it would be best to focus on a single lineage. If you try to absorb too many systems, without proper guidance, you could end up with a mish-mash of styles and methodologies blending together inappropriately.

    It takes time to learn even the rudiments of any legitimate school of swordsmanship. I'm just speaking from my own experience, as I practiced Korean, Japanese and European swordsmanship, prior to finding my true home in the Chinese sword arts.

    My recommendation is to continue your exploration of the various Chinese systems, via DVDs or YouTube. By determination and imitation, you can comprehend quite a bit about the dynamics of each lineage. Find a logical way of linking them together, progressively, taking enough time to understand the essence of the tradition. Like starting with the external styles of jianfa, then approach internal styles? You know, go from Shaolinquan sword, to Wudang sword, to Taijiquan sword (Yang, Chen, Wu or Sun), to Xingyi sword, to Bagua sword. I believe it is admirable to desire to undertake the study of such a broad range of systems, however, realistically gaining any true level of skill is most unlikely. Still, you will have a fantastic experience embracing their diversity and if you are a kata junkie, you can get lost for decades in such a deep pursuit. What a great way to spend your spare time.

    Of course, to grasp any depth of these arts, it would take several decades of regular practice. Almost nobody, can master several systems, with any proficiency (even with accomplished teachers). I'm guessing you understand this pretty well, so why not explore to your heart's content?

    Sorry, I digress... yes, I encourage you to continue to learn jian forms from Sifu Wing Lam or any of the myriad of talented Chinese masters who produce instructional DVDs. I do feel that, while it may be best to join a school and follow-through with the lineage... why should you go without the enjoyable experience of discovering the fundamental elements of jian-manship? Do consider attending a few seminars outside of your local area, if you can swing it. This goes a looooooooong way in your growth, regardless of the limited duration. Good luck with your practice, man.

    Be well and practice often, Jon Palombi
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    i don't believe this is true. All you are doing is mimickry, and it does not capture what is going on underneath. It ends up being completely hollow.

    I was not being rude, nor deliberately sarcastic. I was actually being bluntly honest, which is something that I think we could probably all benefit from a bit more. Instead, we all want to feel good about ourselves, and believe that we can do anything, in any way that we want. If that is how someone wants to do it, fine, he may as well just make up his own and make-believe.

    I agree with you here.

    but I disagree here. Experienced martial artists have some familiarity with martial arts, but specific systems usually have a lot going on underneath the surface, and that takes some serious study and training to understand. Often, experienced martial artists default into doing the new stuff just like they did their prior training, and usually that is wrong.

    An experienced martial artist usually CANNOT simply observe and pick up a different system. Under a good instructor they may bloom, but not by themselves, not thru video, not by playing with a sword.

    I'll disagree again. My suggestion is that he find a good teacher of Chinese arts, and study what he has to teach. If sword is part of that experience, then he's found gold. If it's not available in his neck of the woods, then he doesnt' get to do it. Looking for a way to work around the absence of an instructor will ALWAYS give poor, even disastrous results. The problem is that the person attempting to learn the art without a teacher, usually doesn't even realize how bad it is.
     
  5. Tensei85

    Tensei85 Master Black Belt

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    No harm intended but I agree 100% with FC,

    The training of the Jian has so many subtleties, you can NOT catch on to them from a book or dvd.

    Firstly it requires the body to be "Yao" or soft this takes years of training to accomplish with a "genuine" (live) Sifu. The "fa jin" in itself requires a full body "fa jin" which again is accomplished with the body being (soft), the wrist, hips, torso, footwork all have to be in sync to use the "Jian" properly.

    Not to mention hours upon hours of "jian zhang" to understand the core principles & concepts.

    There are no short cuts, I'm sorry but find a qualified Sifu, even if you have to travel Do It, its worth it.

    Let me also say that from "style" to "style" also have different methods for the Jian, so by mixing a Southern system with a Northern system with a Taiji system with a Wudang system from books, dvd's or other publications you'll essentially have Chop Suey, or even worse "Lap Sap". Even top level Sifu's would generally dedicate themselves to 1 or 2 systems in a lot of cases.
     
  6. mtabone

    mtabone Green Belt

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    Normally I would agree with FC and the lot that someone can not "learn" on their own....

    BUT

    That’s not what we are talking about here.

    Isshinryu Guy has expressed it is just for fun, and that it is simply for experiencing the weapon. He never said he wanted to be an expert at it, or anything of the like.

    How many martial artists who don’t formally train with a nunchaku ever picked one up and swung it around a few times? I have. I bet 99% have. But that does not mean we train with the weapon. I did it enough times to know I didn’t like it, and I like things that don’t have a tendency to come flying back at me.

    How about Hoplologist (study of a civilizations combat and customs…think Weaponology) do they have to train with EVERY single weapon on the earth for half a life time so they can study and know their profession?

    As a Haidong Gumdo practitioner (2nd Dan) and a Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan (4th Dan) I love to know how other styles are…. In case I am up against them (I know we don’t live 400 years ago, I don’t mean practical day to day self defense…) comparative understanding of one art verse another are great, and would be basically impossible if you had to study each art to its fullest to be able to begin that process. But that again is not what isshinryu guy is talking about.

    Another note: Mastering one martial art, does (or I guess the word is should) allow one to understand another art with more ease. You can go on and on about how you need a qualified instructor to see the subtle this and the little that…but that again is not what isshinryu guy is talking about.

    From the stand point of speed control, tension and relaxation, control of power, etc if someone could NOT identify these expressions in another art form they have not done enough study in their own. Yes, power generation and the like might be a matter of subtle intention this way or that…. But it will be easier for someone with good training to pick up and understand… but then again, it is not what Isshinryu Guy is talking about….

    To get a “Gist” of a weapon, I see nothing wrong with picking one up, learning a form on your own, and experimenting. We are not talking about some back yard idiot self training, we are talking about a qualified martial artist in their own right (I am assuming J ) to get more clarification books, dvd, are ok, and of course a regular basis instructor is best, seminars being a back up if this is impossible…. But then again, that’s not what Isshinryu Guy is talking about.

     
  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's why I highlighed the specific exerpts from his OP in my initial response. Those comments indicated that he had no interest in actually learning the weapon. He was really just interested in playing with it, using it within the context of movement.

    Given his level of interest and intent, he may as well pick up a cheap one and just make up his own.

    As soon as he starts trying to follow along with a DVD, then he's trying to learn it on some level of legitimacy. But there is no legitimacy with the DVD approach.

    So if all he wants to do is play with it, then play with it. But don't pretend that it comes from a legitimate source.
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    With your TSD and Gumdo background, I can guarantee that you cannot learn proper Tibetan White Crane technique thru video. I use that as an example because Tibetan White Crane is something that I train, and I have over a decade of experience with it.

    I came into the art from a background in kenpo and capoeira. It has taken me years of training, under a good instructor, to finally really understand proper White Crane technique. For years I've been executing my White Crane like my kenpo. That's not to say my kenpo is wrong. Rather, in the context of white crane, kenpo is wrong.

    Same thing with my Wing Chun experience. There is a lot going on underneath the surface, that you just cannot see. You need to experience it under a good teacher. Otherwise it is just abstract movement, hollow of any meaning or results.

    If you found an instructional video of either of these systems, and tried to follow along with your TSD background, I can guarantee your White Crane or Wing Chun would end up being executed like your TSD, and that means it would be lousy and absolutely wrong.

    You can observe and see what it looks like thru DVD, but you cannot develop even the lowest level of legitimate understanding of the proper execution of the technique.

    I also used to believe as you do, and I even experimented with a few instructional videos. I learned a couple forms from them, but I always had a nagging suspicion that I probably didn't understand them very well. Then I began to train kung fu under some legitimate, knowledgeable instructors. Once I got into it and began to realize the huge gap in how a technique is developed between one system and another, I realized how wrong I was. Needless to say, I quickly dumped everything that I had learned from video, and stopped lying to myself.

    A punch is not a punch. Some punches are different from other punches.
     
  9. mtabone

    mtabone Green Belt

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    wow.

    Your last quote reminds me of that old quote "in the beginning a punch is just a punch, in the middle a punch is more than a punch, in the end a punch is just a punch” but I digress….

    On the surface I agree with your post. But just underneath I have this sense that I can’t simply flat out agree with it.

    “With your TSD and Gumdo background, I can guarantee that you cannot learn proper Tibetan White Crane technique thru video”

    From a person to person stand point: you can’t guarantee anything. While I tend to agree with the assessment about learning martial arts from video, it’s an absolute, and can’t truly be said.

    If you were to execute White Crane like Kempo, that is more your own fault on “not emptying your cup” then training in Kempo…. I mean, I had to do the same process learning Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan then learning Haidong Gumdo, completely different power generation, stances, philosophy, etc…. except I knew they weren’t the same art. Same with my 11 years doing Kali…I didn’t “TSDized” them, and if I did, I knew it was wrong, cause it wasn’t the same.

    And while I might not grab all the “subtle knowledge” that exists in any other given martial art, I can guarantee if I learned a form it wouldn’t be “TSDized”…. It might need the tweaking of a teacher in that art, but it would not be a bastardized sloppy copy in the version of my own martial styling’s…. And I am willing to bet there are plenty of competent martial artists that with the proper drive and will who could do the same….

    Again I’m not saying they could learn IT ALL (thunderous music) but to say people who train for years in one discipline can’t appreciate the subtly of another art is ridicules. (I am of course assuming correct proper good training from the start)

    “If you found an instructional video of either of these systems, and tried to follow along with your TSD background, I can guarantee your White Crane or Wing Chun would end up being executed like your TSD, and that means it would be lousy and absolutely wrong”

    For the same reasons above, and the most important reason being the “empty cup” cliché, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not saying anyone person could learn a martial art from video, casual study, or occasional contact but the other extreme that everyone is actually WORSE off for having years under their belt (or I guess in this case on it? “on their belt/sash/what have you”) is silly. Yes I would agree some people do everything stiff, some do everything relaxed, some actually “get it”, some don’t… and in this I find your idea that someone STUCK in one style with their body, cannot adapt to another.

    Though I would say someone who does not have the control over their body, mind, and spirit to be able to adapt, has not done enough training, or incorrect training, whether that be Mind or Body.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    yes, I know, the old Bruce Lee thing. He was wrong. Or at least the truth in his statement only holds at the very highest levels of development, which only a handful of people ever reach even tho most people are delusional and believe that they have.

    OK, I'll give you a 99.999% absolute. I'll concede 0.001% chance that you'd get it close to correct, if you learned it strictly thru video, and that's if you are one of the very rare, truly gifted.



    no, it's a factor of kenpo being the only vaguely similar experience that I had to fall back on, so I automatically did it like kenpo because I couldn't understand that there was a different way to do it and the kenpo was automatic for me. And that was while working under a good instructor who was trying to help me understand it. With a video, without direct instructor interaction, no way in hell.

    no, you'd be wrong.

    If you studied under a good White Crane sifu, I'm willing to bet that if you worked dilligently you'd eventually figure it out. But on your own, with video, no way in hell.

    I'm working with a group of beginners in White Crane, teaching them under the supervision of my sifu. Most of them come from a different martial arts background. I can see the difficulty they have, because they want to fall back into old habits. Those old habits are OK in the context of their other training, but they are absolutely wrong in the context of White Crane. I see it all the time, and this is with me and my sifu working directly with them.

    I've joked with my Sisuk about this. If we made an instructional video and let some people work with it, it would be really funny to see the results after one year if the video was their only source of instruction. There is just no way they are gonna be even close to correct. But hey, a sucker is born every minute so maybe I ought to start selling videos...

    They can appreciate the subtlety of another system, but they cannot hope to learn it in that manner. It's not that they simply could not learn IT ALL, but rather whatever mimickry they managed to pick up from the video, would be all wrong. White Crane is an art that, if you get it wrong, it's really quite useless and silly. If you get it right, it's scary effective. Same thing with Shaolin and Taiji and Hung gar, as the OP mentioned. But if you do White Crane like a TKD guy or Shotokan guy or something, it's useless because trust me, it really is that different.

    It's not just a matter of different arts using different combinations of movements. Rather, the whole base of the art can be very very different. This includes stances, ways of moving, and methods of power generation and delivery of strikes. If you don't understand the specific foundation upon which an art is built, the actual techniques lose all of their usefulness and meaning.

    no sir, you are again completely wrong.

    People who have learned one style ought to stick with that one style. If they want to learn another style, they need a good teacher to help them, and they need to be very very careful to not let their prior training interfere with the process of learning another system. Without the teacher, they should not attempt to learn another style, and they should simply stick with what they already learned.

    I will concede that unlike my examples above, some systems may be very similar and even related to certain others. In that case, making the transition would be much easier. But I'd still never ever encourage someone to do so thru video, without a good teacher.
     
  11. clfsean

    clfsean Senior Master

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    Fei Hok... gotch yer back... just simple... word. Just word...
     
  12. wushuguy

    wushuguy Purple Belt

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    If you like taiji sword then go for it. there's plenty of DVDs available to learn on your own, but you can take a look at other sword styles. Wudang has some very beautiful looking sword forms. There's also Qingping Jian.

    Since doing just to learn a form, then you should take a look at the different styles of Chinese swordsmanship, on youtube or such, to pick which one is more appealing to your range of motion and ability to learn.

    Good luck, and if you can, post your progress on youtube. It'd be nice to see how well one can learn from a DVD or such.

    Also, it would be good to focus on one style first, to make sure you can do the motions fluidly. That time, you might change your mind about which forms to learn or if it is even needed to learn other sword forms...
     
  13. mtabone

    mtabone Green Belt

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    Flying Crane,

    I usually agree with alot of what you say, and have said in this post, don't get me wrong.

    And I have seen my share of people grab a sword and KARATE CHOP instead of slice, or make Tai Chi look stiff, or make tae kwon do look good (just kidding) and fall into the same exact circumstances you were talking about above...

    And I am not about people learning a martial art from a video. I believe Video is a great learning aid for people in that martial art with a LIVE instructor for remembering and working on their art, but is no way a viable alternative.

    But then again.....its not what Isshinryu Guy's talking about.
     
  14. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    Jian from video - good luck with that - you will not learn much beyond superficial and you are better off doing what FC said. Or just going to YouTube and save your money
     
  15. wushuguy

    wushuguy Purple Belt

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    While it's true that he'd really need an instructor to learn in depth, some people "need" to buy a DVD or VHS tape (if VHS still exists...) to learn it. After they muck around a video for a while, if they're serious, they'll see that to continue growing, the NEED a good instructor to improve. Some people get their feet wet with videos, and that makes them want even more to find a real instructor if available.

    That said, like everyone else is saying, you can't really learn an art via video, online classroom, or distance learning, etc. it's just too hard. I know a TKD practitioner who has a bunch of tapes on how to spar, but no matter how well he memorizes those tapes, he really needs the experience of sparring and realistic application, otherwise he will remain like a paper tiger. (His TKD school doesn't put much effort on sparring...)

    So, if buying a DVD or book will help ease your curiosity on a style, then go for it! I think DVD should better than youtube, just because a good instructional DVD should have some explanations about correct posture, etc. while youtube usually doesn't... at least for most sword things i've seen on youtube. Learn what you can, then if you have a chance, work out with someone who knows the style, or put a vid on in the members in motion section, and perhaps people will share some useful comments to help you learn more.

    But if you can find someone near you that knows what you want to learn, perhaps you can make a deal with that person? exchange of technique or something?
     
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    OK, lemme clarify my position a bit.

    If I came down a bit hard on the OP, it wasn't personal.

    If you go back and look at my initial response, the specific points from the OP that I included in my response, you will see that IsshGuy himself made a lot of statements that indicated he was not at all serious about learning the sword. He just wanted to do it for fun, he had no delusions of mastering it this way, he just likes to move, he likes forms, etc. OK, that's fine, but what he's doing then is turning it into play, which is what traditional kungfu was never meant to be. If he just wants it to be play, then play with it and don't pretend that it comes from a legitimate source. Be honest about it, and don't lie to yourself about what you are doing. If you try and learn a set from a video, you are lying to yourself.

    I tend to come down hard on people who come here and start posting about how they want to learn something from video. I think over the years my position has strengthened in this regard, and I've become something of an Immoveable Object. It's because I feel that strongly about it. As I mentioned in a prior post, even tho I knew video instruction was not a good idea I also experimented with it to some extent. I also saw firsthand how futile it really is. I've been there, I've done that, I know how bad of an idea it is. I'm speaking from experience. I believe video as a primary source of instruction is one of the worst things to pop up in the martial arts industry, and I will not make exceptions to my position.

    So when someone comes on here and says, "hey everyone, I wanna play with a sword and I'm gonna try and learn something from video, and not only that but I'm gonna try and learn sword this way from half a dozen different systems, none of which do I have a background in nor do I want to have a background in, whaddaya all think of that?" Well, I'm gonna tell him what I think of it, it's a stupid idea and he is wasting his time and money and he should not do it. Period.

    We live in a society that is largely defined around a sense of entitlement. People believe that no matter what I want, I have a right to get it. They do not want to consider the fact that, maybe what they want is not available to them, for very legitimate reasons like there is nobody in their area who can teach them what they want to learn. People always look for a way around that uncomfortable and inconvenient little detail. And when it comes to martial arts, they start looking at video as an option.

    But video is simply not a replacement for a good instructor. Not even a little bit. People justify it by claiming that, "well, I know it's best to have an instructor, but at least this is better than nothing". I've got news for everyone who makes that claim: no, it is not. It is not "better than nothing". It is actually worse than nothing. The transmission of a physical skill attached to a body of knowledge, thru the medium of video, leads to a severe breakdown in the final results. It is disastrous, and like I mentioned in a prior post, the individual usually doesn't even realize how bad it is. Not only is he usually ignorant of this fact, but many people lie to themselves once again and even convince themselves that they are actually pretty good.

    There is one way to work around the absence of an instructor: move to someplace where an instructor is available. I did it in 1994 when I moved from Wisconsin to San Francisco. I knew this was a mecca for martial arts in the US, and there were some specific things here that I wanted to pursue. So I moved here and set up my life.

    I understand that this is not an option for many people. I happened to be in a stage of my life where it was possible for me to do that. Not everyone is in that stage and they cannot make the move. I hate to be a hardass, but all I can say to that is: tough. We don't always get what we want.

    This country was thrown into a financial crisis because too many people with an entitlement mentality bought on credit that they could never repay. Predatory lenders took advantage of peoples' desperation to own things that they could not afford, and they extended dangerous amounts of credit and the house of cards finally collapsed. Look what that did to us as a nation.

    Trying to learn from a video is like buying on credit that you have no hope of paying back. And instructors who market videos with the intention of selling them to anybody willing to part with a buck, under the illusion that they can actually learn from the video, are like the predatory lenders. They lack scruples, they would sell their own mother for a chance to make a profit, they ignore the long-term damage that they are doing, and I find it unacceptable.

    I have no objection to using video as a tool, alongside quality instruction under a good teacher within a solid, on-going teacher-student relationship. If the video is used simply as a reference for the student to use as he learns properly from the instructor, then I do not object to it. Or, video can be used as a way of seeing what an art looks like and whether one might be interested in pursuing instruction.

    But I will never endorse, and will always remain absolutely hostile to the idea of video as the primary and only source of instruction. Anybody who tells you that this is a viable option is either lying to you, or was lied to and believed the lies, or is simply ignorant and his judgement on the matter cannot be trusted.

    So if IsshinryuGuy wants to play with a jian, by all means, he should go ahead and do so. But I stand by my initial response: he should just make it up because what he ends up with will be no worse than if he tries to learn from video. And at least he will be honest with himself about it.

    I will not apologize for my stance on this issue.
     
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  17. mtabone

    mtabone Green Belt

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    Flying Crane,

    "I will not apologize for my stance on this issue."

    I do not believe it is nessesary to apologize for anything you have said at all. I agree with your stance for the most part but do see it as with EXTREME PREJUDICE :) but is all good though....

    :asian:
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    fair enough, and I wasn't actually directing this at you in particular. Rather, I was putting out my position for anyone to see and hopefully consider what I've said and my thoughts behind what I've said.
     
  19. jonpalombi

    jonpalombi Yellow Belt

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    Good Evening Gents,

    I must say, I feel somewhat embarrassed that I have not revisited this thread since my last comments. I am hardly surprised by the reactions Flying Crane expresses (whoever he really is), to the idea of an open and friendly discussion about training within the parameters of a Chinese sword form, in a limited or isolated situation/circumstance. Frankly, I agree with nearly everything FC has said. It just cannot be done properly from this approach, however, what I find vulgar and most abhorrent is the intonation of his reply. The end result is the typical slap-in-the-face of club politics. "My dog id bigger than your dog!" The intelligence of the message gets lost in the bitter flavors of arrogance and superiority.

    Ishinryu Guy openly states he knows he cannot master the subtleties and/or complexities of this art, merely by observing videos and trying to do the sword form, based on a limited method of learning (DVDs). He was asking for encouragement to open his mind and heart to an alternate martial study. He loves kata, especially sword kata. He was asking for help. So what did he get? Shot down by a gang of "experts". Is it any surprise than Ishinryu Guy has remained silent since he started this thread? Even if he was casually playing around with the idea of cross-training, without any sincere commitment to digging deeper into the underlying movement of energy required to effectively develop any authentic skills... he should be treated with kindness and encouragement.

    Why? Because even a small taste of any genuine tradition can lead to further pursuit, even to, eventually, joining a legitimate school. I seriously doubt he was just toying with the idea of bastardizing traditional Chinese jianfa practice, without regard to it's depth. Most likely, you have rudely driven him away with your snobbery. Away from practising "Chinese straight sword'? No, away from this forum. To me, his interest seemed sincere. He knows that the Chinese systems are at the heart of his own lineage, Ishinryu. I too, get frustrated by the way 21st century human beings want to jump from interest to interest, without sticking with anything long enough to get more than just a superficial understanding of said pursuit. Nine times out of ten, it's just curiosity. True enough. But what about the one soul out of ten, who is ready to take more than only transitory steps toward the goal?

    It's the duty to any secure practitioner to lend a friendly hand. Yes, I said "secure". For at the core of every elitist, snobbish bully... is a cringing husk of insecurity. White Crane is honorable about his adherence to traditional ways, I've got to respect that, but there can be little doubt he is using the force of negativity to placate this empty, fearful hole in his heart. My Grandmother used to say, "You get more flies with honey than vinegar." In other words, forgiving an initiates lack of knowledge is best done with an open, cheerful intention.

    An analogy would make more sense, perhaps, since semantics get so convoluted sometimes? For an example... when a visitor to an English speaking country arrives, having very little knowledge of the English language, he/she may reach out to total strangers for advice. It's only natural. Yes? He/she may even ask you for guidance finding a DVD or booklet explaining simple phrases in English. You can see where I'm going with this. The person asks a variety of folks for assistance, as he/she sincerely wants to learn to speak English. Should an English literature professor behave dismissive to the urging from the foreign visitor? Tell him/her it cannot be done without formal training? Should this person give up and go home? Isn't this a form of blatant condescension? Does this makes you a bigger or better man? Do you somehow feel your superior tone of condescension benefited the cause of mutual understanding, here? Hardly!!! Apparently you don't care about other being feelings and will not bend one iota. Obviously, you don't care. Not the behavior of one who has plummeted into any spiritual depth, within the myriad Chinese sword arts. The implication is that since you have had the good fortune to train with an authentic master and been blessed by such an exchange... that you can beat off, those who appear less dedicated tha yourself. Once, we were all newcomers. so who stepped on you?

    It really does come off as being a schoolyard bully. Honesty is a form of beauty, when applied with dignity. Honesty is a form of ugliness, when it is stained by pride and elitism. This was an opportunity to share some of what you imply, you truly understand about the interior elements of the art, science and martial practice of jianfa. How ironic. Your attitude is reminiscent of many I have encountered from the JSA community, in regards to the Chinese systems. Now I am being rude, which gets us nowhere, so I apologize for calling FC on his seeming arrogance and apparant lack of compassion.

    Be well and practice often, Jon Palombi
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  20. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm sorry Jon, but you are wrong, plain and simple. I was actually giving the chap a bit of honest advice and I'll stick by it. People don't want honesty, they want to hear what they want to hear. As I get older, I have a harder time playing that game. Instead, I chose to give honesty. None of it was meant to be personal. But sometimes the truth is hard to hear, and people take it personally.
     

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