Anyone Else Practice a Mirror Image Form?

Mostly Wu

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My original style was, essentially, a CMC form broken up into 6 parts, I think( it was a long time ago), with a left and tight hand side, I.e. Form 2 was a mirror image of form 1, up till a certain point in the 108 movements, then form 4, was a mirror image of form 3, etc.
I then moved into my present, Wu style, which has the traditional 108 move form that takes 20 or so minutes to perform. While certain moves have L and R in the form, others, such as Single Whip and Grasp Birds Tail, only use the one side. Years ago, we asked our Sifu about this, and he said, Go ahead, practice the other side夸ust not here. I dont think he wanted to confuse beginners.
Since then, I have practiced the mirror image at least once a week, and while it can be difficult at times, I have found it rewarding. Doing some of the above mentioned moves on the other side really opens me up circulation wise, and makes me work on my coordination. I cant help but feel that its better health wise to practice the other side, and it sure cant hurt application wise. I can understand not wanting to teach it to Beginners, and even Intermediate level students, but I think its great for more advanced students. I have found that I am actually better at doing the reverse side on some moves, and that has me re-think my technique on my original form.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I agree that doing that is helpful. But there is a logic behind not doing it (I don't agree with this logic, but understand it). The idea is that stances and bodies in general are not fully balanced, so you choose strikes for the right/left side depending on what is better for that side.

As a very simple example, orthodox boxers aren't practicing their jab with their right hand, or their cross with their left, at least not normally. This is because they train to be able to throw the jab from the left, and have other moves that work for their right/back hand better. It gets more complicated when you move past boxing, but the principal remains the same.
 

isshinryuronin

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The basic idea behind classical kata was not to give a good workout to both sides, but rather to aid one in remembering the moves. Practicing the technique was primarily the purpose of drills (solo and partner) although doing kata provides some lesser amount of repetition as well.

As to which side a technique was done in kata, presumably it was in response to the side most common attacks were executed (Naihanchi is an exception as it is a mirror image form). This does not preclude practicing the other side in drills, which in fact is normally done today in classes and often canonized in a style's kihon curriculum of basics.

Practicing a mirror image of a form certainly doesn't hurt and could be beneficial (and a fun challenge) to more advanced students, but I would not make it mandatory or change a kata to make it more symmetrical.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Form is used to record information. It's for teaching and learning. It's not for training.

You don't train form from the 1st move to the last move, you break a form into many sequences (or single moves), you then train each sequence (or single move) left and right N times non-stop.


 
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Flying Crane

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I habitually train many of my forms on both sides, including weapons. I believe it is important. I also believe that probably a student was expected to recognize this, and take that step on his own.
 

Xue Sheng

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My first shifu required it for the Beijing 24, and 48 form taijiuquan. I never learned the 48, but I did learn the 24 and when I was teaching 24 it helped mirroring students so I could watch them. I taught the reversed form of the Yang Long form to myself, although my shifu did not require it.

I haver not heard about this in Chen, Sun or Wu, but that is not to say it does not exist, just that I have not heard of it
 

Kung Fu Wang

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In the long fist system, the basic form Tan Tui is trained on both sides. After the basic form training, a long fist student will take both sides training as their own responsibility when they reach to the intermediate level and advance level.

A teacher just brings you inside the door. The rest of the training is all up to you.
 
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