Forms without belts

This may be true, but would not be representative of the training forms from traditional martial arts. A school may choose to keep some of this kind of thing within their curriculum to be used at publicity events (if they choose to take part in such things) but I would imagine they would be a very small part of the curriculum.

Modern Wushu is its own animal. It was created at the direction of the Chinese Communist Government specifically to be a cultural performance and competition/performance art form deliberately separated from the older combat methods. It was never inteneded to be a viable combat method even though it was based on a mixture of older combat methods. In the early days of Modern Wushu (the 1950s) it was probably much closer to the original combat methods on which it was based and there would have been a greater deal of viable material within that performance art. However, today's Modern Wushu has continued to push the envelope in extreme techniques (crowd-pleasing, not combat-effective) and one would be hard-pressed to present a believable argument that Modern Wushu continues to be an effective fighting method even though its athletes can be impressive to watch in the same way that a gymnastics floor routine is impressive to watch. It is deliberately a performance art and has been since it's inception.

What you describe seems to me to be consistent with Japanese Koryu martial arts in particular. My experience in the Chinese methods is very different. We do not try to hold the system consistent with the vision of a specific individual innovator. At least not for its own sake. We actually view our methodology as being extremely functional, which provides its own motivation for keeping that consistency. But within the greater methodology lies a lot of room to develop one's own training approach, as long as it remains consistent with the principles and foundational practices upon which the method is built.

Ng, Siu Jung established the specific lineage of Tibetan White Crane in which I train. He was innovative and systemmatized some of the training practices from the older Tibetan lineage, making his method unique in its own way while at the same time being a clear relative to the other Tibetan lineages.

Downstream from Sifu Ng, we see a lot of variation from one school to another. Forms are not done the same, and some schools have forms in their curriculum that do not exist in other schools. I have seen my Sifu make changes to a form on the spot, to better fit with a student's strengths or weaknesses. We in no way hold Sifu Ng, nor the curriculum (the forms) as something sacred that needs to be maintained at all cost. We do not try to preserve the greater curriculum to Sifu Ng's vision. Rather, we recognize how effective the overall methodology is and we maintain that, while freely developing our own training exercises that remain consistent to the overall methodology.
I've been working on and thinking about what makes a style and the concept of viewing styles through the lens of genealogy of sorts for quite some time. It's a complex topic and I've tried to compress my thoughts down in my prior post. It's something that could take a three hour conversation to really think through. However, I do not see where your post would contradict the hypothesis of a evolutionary biology frame work that overlaps martial arts. If that was your intent.
Some of what I wrote like there being a founder as an ideal does get muddy with CMA. I was thinking of people like Miyagi, Funakoshi, ueshiba and the japanese arts more so than CMA. Trying to easily make a point and not so much laying out a presupposition or rule. I still think the principals are valid.
So here is a line of questions.
In CMA if there are different lineages of the same art with differences in curriculum, if you watched them do forms could you tell just be looking that it's the same art or related? Can you visually discern Tibetan Crane from a Northern crane style from a southern Fukian crane style?
Do you think it's possible to visually know Fukian styles like Crane from Dog boxing or Tiger style?
If you can tell one style from another, why? What specifically is it that makes a style different?
What I'm proposing is that each style has that something special that sets it apart and that something is passed on to the next generation primarily through forms.
Analogy, my dad had mannerisms that I now posses either through genetics or exposure. But I am clearly my fathers son. It's the same in martial styles.

It does happen that the essence can be changed. That can happen with time or what I would call genetic mutations. The essence can also be completely lost and removed. Like from a cultural revolution. Or the art being transplanted from one culture to another.
To address the OP, is it possible that the forms he is concerned about have lost their essence due to a cultural shift. This would leave the form as a skeleton of empty techniques with no heart. A collection of movements with no meaning and nothing that binds the movements into a coherent whole.
I think so.
 
I've been working on and thinking about what makes a style and the concept of viewing styles through the lens of genealogy of sorts for quite some time. It's a complex topic and I've tried to compress my thoughts down in my prior post. It's something that could take a three hour conversation to really think through. However, I do not see where your post would contradict the hypothesis of a evolutionary biology frame work that overlaps martial arts. If that was your intent.
I am not sure I grasp what you are getting at above, so I won't comment on it.
Some of what I wrote like there being a founder as an ideal does get muddy with CMA. I was thinking of people like Miyagi, Funakoshi, ueshiba and the japanese arts more so than CMA. Trying to easily make a point and not so much laying out a presupposition or rule. I still think the principals are valid.
I believe I understand what you are getting at in this previous bit. I think there are cultural and other differences that would put more or less weight on what you describe, being in my opinion more common in the Japanese methods. I suspect it fits more into Japanese culture. My experience with Chinese martial arts tells me it is less so in that context. Combine that with US culture which tends to be very independent and individualistic, and such concepts easily get tossed out the window altogether. While there are famous people in the Chinese arts (Yip Man in Wing Chun, Wong, Fei-Hung in Hung Gar), I do not believe the practice of their downstream methods are tied to preserving their exact vision of it. From personal experience, I know that different Wing Chun lineages downstream from Yip Man are definitely not identical. Details of the forms have been changed, overall focus on what is important in the training can vary from school to school. The bottom line remains that the overall system and training methodology is seen to be valid and fruitful and that is enough motivation to keep consistent with the older methods. The older methods are seen as still being effective, still being useful, still being valuable for the results that they yield. They are not simply a historical artifact that needs to be preserved for the sake of cultural heritage and history, possibly or possibly not still effective as a practical and useful martial method, which I think could affect an art that strives to stay true to a certain point in history.
So here is a line of questions.
In CMA if there are different lineages of the same art with differences in curriculum, if you watched them do forms could you tell just be looking that it's the same art or related?
Often yes, if you are knowledgeable about more than just the method that you have studied. In my own example, there are essentially three main systems (that I am aware of, it is possible that there are other branches in Tibet and other parts of China that have simply not made it to the US for us to see) of the Tibetan method that have developed as separate but related. They come from the same original root system originating in Tibet in something like the 14th century (if the oral history can be trusted) that was brought into Canton and eventually split and developed into different branches. They all maintain some common root foundational concepts that manifest in similar ways, but the details may differ. I believe their curriculum of forms have become separate, but there may be some overlap. In the case of the Tibetan method, we have some practices that seem to be unique to us, so when we see those things, it is a dead giveaway that it comes from the Tibetan lineages. That makes it easy for us to identify a related system. I don't know if other Chinese methods have a similar tell that would also be an identifier, should one person see another person doing a form that they are not familiar with, but could still identify it as a related lineage or related system.

I know that Choy Lay Fut has a couple of primary branches that probably share the same overall approach to training the foundation, but with very different forms in their curriculum. One branch has a huge curriculum, with something like a billion and one different forms of all kinds, empty-hand, two-person, weapons of all description. The other branch has a mere handful of forms, fewer weapons, and if I understand it correctly, was established when a fellow branched off after learning less material. Maybe he was kicked out of a school or something, and just decided to hell with it, i've got plenty of good material and this will be a streamlined version of Choy Lay Fut. They are both well-established branches and have produced quality people.
Can you visually discern Tibetan Crane from a Northern crane style from a southern Fukian crane style?
Absolutely. I am only firmly aware of Southern (Fukien) crane as real systems. I am not firmly aware of a Northern Crane system although I know that some systems have their own version of Crane material within them. Northern Shaolin would be an example. Hung Gar actually gets some crane concepts from the Tibetan lineage, as there was some sharing that went on in the day of Wong, Fei-Hung's father. But they also have some crane material that I do not recognize as having come from the Tibetan method. Whether it came from another system or is their own interpretation of the bird, I do not know.

At any rate, Fukien crane (which has several sub-styles, if I understand it correctly: Feeding crane, Calling Crane, Flying Crane...and how they all fit together I do not understand) looks completely different from the Tibetan method. The Tibetan method is a long-arm method in the extreme, while the Fukien is, I believe, a Hakka method that is typically much more compact, similar in look to Wing Chun which it may actually be an ancestor of.

I am aware of another crane method, White Crane of Omei, but I know nothing about it and given the source of where I've heard of it, I am not convinced it is authentic. I just don't know. It could be.
Do you think it's possible to visually know Fukian styles like Crane from Dog boxing or Tiger style?
If you can tell one style from another, why?
I think it is, but you would need to know something about the different styles to know what they are. At any rate, if you understand your own style, you ought to be able to recognize that someone else is doing a different style, even if you do not know what that style is. That would be different from recognizing that the form they are doing is not one from your style that you have not yet learned; rather, you can see how it is fundamentally different from your style.
What specifically is it that makes a style different?
What I'm proposing is that each style has that something special that sets it apart and that something is passed on to the next generation primarily through forms.
Analogy, my dad had mannerisms that I now posses either through genetics or exposure. But I am clearly my fathers son. It's the same in martial styles.
I think this can depend greatly on the style and the history of the method. As I mentioned above, the Tibetan lineages have some practices that, in my opinion, make them somewhat unique. These practices are used to build and reinforce certain foundational skills and concepts. Those skills and concepts are not unique to Tibetan methods, but the specific way that we develop them is. That is what makes our style different. The forms are structured to put those foundational skills and concepts into practice. The techniques themselves are not unique to the Tibetan method (a punch is still a punch, after all) but how we develop our punch, how we learn to generate the power, is, and that manifests in our forms. If you were to adopt our forms into your practice without having taken the time to understand our foundation, and if you tried to do them on a karate foundation (for example), they would be largely dysfunctional, very little value there and a waste of time, probably would even interfere with your karate development. Our forms are built with our foundational concepts in mind and if you separate the two, then the practice becomes dysfunctional.

Any good system ought to help you generate a powerful punch. How we do it seems to be unique to us. Not necessarily better, just unique and it seems to be a good fit for me, so I do it. It may not be a good fit for someone else. That person should do something else. It isn't better in absolutes or in an objective way. It is subjective, and depends on the person and how well they connect with the method.

I can't speak much to how this issue may manifest in other systems
It does happen that the essence can be changed. That can happen with time or what I would call genetic mutations. The essence can also be completely lost and removed. Like from a cultural revolution. Or the art being transplanted from one culture to another.
I would say that Modern Wushu is a good example of this.
 
I am not sure I grasp what you are getting at above, so I won't comment on it.

I believe I understand what you are getting at in this previous bit. I think there are cultural and other differences that would put more or less weight on what you describe, being in my opinion more common in the Japanese methods. I suspect it fits more into Japanese culture. My experience with Chinese martial arts tells me it is less so in that context. Combine that with US culture which tends to be very independent and individualistic, and such concepts easily get tossed out the window altogether. While there are famous people in the Chinese arts (Yip Man in Wing Chun, Wong, Fei-Hung in Hung Gar), I do not believe the practice of their downstream methods are tied to preserving their exact vision of it. From personal experience, I know that different Wing Chun lineages downstream from Yip Man are definitely not identical. Details of the forms have been changed, overall focus on what is important in the training can vary from school to school. The bottom line remains that the overall system and training methodology is seen to be valid and fruitful and that is enough motivation to keep consistent with the older methods. The older methods are seen as still being effective, still being useful, still being valuable for the results that they yield. They are not simply a historical artifact that needs to be preserved for the sake of cultural heritage and history, possibly or possibly not still effective as a practical and useful martial method, which I think could affect an art that strives to stay true to a certain point in history.

Often yes, if you are knowledgeable about more than just the method that you have studied. In my own example, there are essentially three main systems (that I am aware of, it is possible that there are other branches in Tibet and other parts of China that have simply not made it to the US for us to see) of the Tibetan method that have developed as separate but related. They come from the same original root system originating in Tibet in something like the 14th century (if the oral history can be trusted) that was brought into Canton and eventually split and developed into different branches. They all maintain some common root foundational concepts that manifest in similar ways, but the details may differ. I believe their curriculum of forms have become separate, but there may be some overlap. In the case of the Tibetan method, we have some practices that seem to be unique to us, so when we see those things, it is a dead giveaway that it comes from the Tibetan lineages. That makes it easy for us to identify a related system. I don't know if other Chinese methods have a similar tell that would also be an identifier, should one person see another person doing a form that they are not familiar with, but could still identify it as a related lineage or related system.

I know that Choy Lay Fut has a couple of primary branches that probably share the same overall approach to training the foundation, but with very different forms in their curriculum. One branch has a huge curriculum, with something like a billion and one different forms of all kinds, empty-hand, two-person, weapons of all description. The other branch has a mere handful of forms, fewer weapons, and if I understand it correctly, was established when a fellow branched off after learning less material. Maybe he was kicked out of a school or something, and just decided to hell with it, i've got plenty of good material and this will be a streamlined version of Choy Lay Fut. They are both well-established branches and have produced quality people.

Absolutely. I am only firmly aware of Southern (Fukien) crane as real systems. I am not firmly aware of a Northern Crane system although I know that some systems have their own version of Crane material within them. Northern Shaolin would be an example. Hung Gar actually gets some crane concepts from the Tibetan lineage, as there was some sharing that went on in the day of Wong, Fei-Hung's father. But they also have some crane material that I do not recognize as having come from the Tibetan method. Whether it came from another system or is their own interpretation of the bird, I do not know.

At any rate, Fukien crane (which has several sub-styles, if I understand it correctly: Feeding crane, Calling Crane, Flying Crane...and how they all fit together I do not understand) looks completely different from the Tibetan method. The Tibetan method is a long-arm method in the extreme, while the Fukien is, I believe, a Hakka method that is typically much more compact, similar in look to Wing Chun which it may actually be an ancestor of.

I am aware of another crane method, White Crane of Omei, but I know nothing about it and given the source of where I've heard of it, I am not convinced it is authentic. I just don't know. It could be.

I think it is, but you would need to know something about the different styles to know what they are. At any rate, if you understand your own style, you ought to be able to recognize that someone else is doing a different style, even if you do not know what that style is. That would be different from recognizing that the form they are doing is not one from your style that you have not yet learned; rather, you can see how it is fundamentally different from your style.

I think this can depend greatly on the style and the history of the method. As I mentioned above, the Tibetan lineages have some practices that, in my opinion, make them somewhat unique. These practices are used to build and reinforce certain foundational skills and concepts. Those skills and concepts are not unique to Tibetan methods, but the specific way that we develop them is. That is what makes our style different. The forms are structured to put those foundational skills and concepts into practice. The techniques themselves are not unique to the Tibetan method (a punch is still a punch, after all) but how we develop our punch, how we learn to generate the power, is, and that manifests in our forms. If you were to adopt our forms into your practice without having taken the time to understand our foundation, and if you tried to do them on a karate foundation (for example), they would be largely dysfunctional, very little value there and a waste of time, probably would even interfere with your karate development. Our forms are built with our foundational concepts in mind and if you separate the two, then the practice becomes dysfunctional.

Any good system ought to help you generate a powerful punch. How we do it seems to be unique to us. Not necessarily better, just unique and it seems to be a good fit for me, so I do it. It may not be a good fit for someone else. That person should do something else. It isn't better in absolutes or in an objective way. It is subjective, and depends on the person and how well they connect with the method.

I can't speak much to how this issue may manifest in other systems

I would say that Modern Wushu is a good example of this.
I am really ignorant, for the most part, of CMA. Thank you for the lesson.
 
I am not sure I grasp what you are getting at above, so I won't comment on it.

I believe I understand what you are getting at in this previous bit. I think there are cultural and other differences that would put more or less weight on what you describe, being in my opinion more common in the Japanese methods. I suspect it fits more into Japanese culture. My experience with Chinese martial arts tells me it is less so in that context. Combine that with US culture which tends to be very independent and individualistic, and such concepts easily get tossed out the window altogether. While there are famous people in the Chinese arts (Yip Man in Wing Chun, Wong, Fei-Hung in Hung Gar), I do not believe the practice of their downstream methods are tied to preserving their exact vision of it. From personal experience, I know that different Wing Chun lineages downstream from Yip Man are definitely not identical. Details of the forms have been changed, overall focus on what is important in the training can vary from school to school. The bottom line remains that the overall system and training methodology is seen to be valid and fruitful and that is enough motivation to keep consistent with the older methods. The older methods are seen as still being effective, still being useful, still being valuable for the results that they yield. They are not simply a historical artifact that needs to be preserved for the sake of cultural heritage and history, possibly or possibly not still effective as a practical and useful martial method, which I think could affect an art that strives to stay true to a certain point in history.

Often yes, if you are knowledgeable about more than just the method that you have studied. In my own example, there are essentially three main systems (that I am aware of, it is possible that there are other branches in Tibet and other parts of China that have simply not made it to the US for us to see) of the Tibetan method that have developed as separate but related. They come from the same original root system originating in Tibet in something like the 14th century (if the oral history can be trusted) that was brought into Canton and eventually split and developed into different branches. They all maintain some common root foundational concepts that manifest in similar ways, but the details may differ. I believe their curriculum of forms have become separate, but there may be some overlap. In the case of the Tibetan method, we have some practices that seem to be unique to us, so when we see those things, it is a dead giveaway that it comes from the Tibetan lineages. That makes it easy for us to identify a related system. I don't know if other Chinese methods have a similar tell that would also be an identifier, should one person see another person doing a form that they are not familiar with, but could still identify it as a related lineage or related system.

I know that Choy Lay Fut has a couple of primary branches that probably share the same overall approach to training the foundation, but with very different forms in their curriculum. One branch has a huge curriculum, with something like a billion and one different forms of all kinds, empty-hand, two-person, weapons of all description. The other branch has a mere handful of forms, fewer weapons, and if I understand it correctly, was established when a fellow branched off after learning less material. Maybe he was kicked out of a school or something, and just decided to hell with it, i've got plenty of good material and this will be a streamlined version of Choy Lay Fut. They are both well-established branches and have produced quality people.

Absolutely. I am only firmly aware of Southern (Fukien) crane as real systems. I am not firmly aware of a Northern Crane system although I know that some systems have their own version of Crane material within them. Northern Shaolin would be an example. Hung Gar actually gets some crane concepts from the Tibetan lineage, as there was some sharing that went on in the day of Wong, Fei-Hung's father. But they also have some crane material that I do not recognize as having come from the Tibetan method. Whether it came from another system or is their own interpretation of the bird, I do not know.

At any rate, Fukien crane (which has several sub-styles, if I understand it correctly: Feeding crane, Calling Crane, Flying Crane...and how they all fit together I do not understand) looks completely different from the Tibetan method. The Tibetan method is a long-arm method in the extreme, while the Fukien is, I believe, a Hakka method that is typically much more compact, similar in look to Wing Chun which it may actually be an ancestor of.

I am aware of another crane method, White Crane of Omei, but I know nothing about it and given the source of where I've heard of it, I am not convinced it is authentic. I just don't know. It could be.

I think it is, but you would need to know something about the different styles to know what they are. At any rate, if you understand your own style, you ought to be able to recognize that someone else is doing a different style, even if you do not know what that style is. That would be different from recognizing that the form they are doing is not one from your style that you have not yet learned; rather, you can see how it is fundamentally different from your style.

I think this can depend greatly on the style and the history of the method. As I mentioned above, the Tibetan lineages have some practices that, in my opinion, make them somewhat unique. These practices are used to build and reinforce certain foundational skills and concepts. Those skills and concepts are not unique to Tibetan methods, but the specific way that we develop them is. That is what makes our style different. The forms are structured to put those foundational skills and concepts into practice. The techniques themselves are not unique to the Tibetan method (a punch is still a punch, after all) but how we develop our punch, how we learn to generate the power, is, and that manifests in our forms. If you were to adopt our forms into your practice without having taken the time to understand our foundation, and if you tried to do them on a karate foundation (for example), they would be largely dysfunctional, very little value there and a waste of time, probably would even interfere with your karate development. Our forms are built with our foundational concepts in mind and if you separate the two, then the practice becomes dysfunctional.

Any good system ought to help you generate a powerful punch. How we do it seems to be unique to us. Not necessarily better, just unique and it seems to be a good fit for me, so I do it. It may not be a good fit for someone else. That person should do something else. It isn't better in absolutes or in an objective way. It is subjective, and depends on the person and how well they connect with the method.

I can't speak much to how this issue may manifest in other systems

I would say that Modern Wushu is a good example of this.
So please correct me, as I am new to Dr Yangs version of Shaolin white crane. Dr Yang says that the white crane he teaches contains a great deal of wing chun. I never trained wingchun so my experience is limited to wing chun people that I knew and sparred with once upon a time. The stances and theory seems somewhat similar to me. Keep in mind that I am adding white crane to my main practice as an additional tool and not a stand alone system. My main system is mainly southern influences but also contains a good deal of longfist as well. So far, it seems to be a useful addition to my tool box. Part of the system leads into chin na techniques and sets them up really very well. I dont plan on attempting to teach this to my students as I am new. The thing is, many of my training brothers and a couple of my students now train concurrently in both systems. How can my system not be affected by this when so many of us are incorporating the two? For my part, I dont see additions and evolutions in concepts as a bad thing. It causes me to wonder what our system/style might be/look like in the future.
 
It causes me to wonder what our system/style might be/look like in the future.
Even if you try to integrate 2 MA systems together, your personal preference will still play an important role. I try to integrate long fist, praying mantis, and Xing Yi. But I don't like vertical fist, I still refuse to use the Xing Yi vertical fist (such as Beng Quan) in sparring.
 
I've rambled on enough about genetic lineages and evolution. Circling back to the OP, my first martial art was deviod of a heart and connective thread to tie the forms together. I remember learning about the 11th form in the art and thinking to myself, nothing new here, just the same old same old . Punches and kicks just done in a different sequence.
When a form is only a series of components, punches, blocks, kicks ect. Then I can see where a system would link an arbitrarily selected form and assign it to a color belt. As mearly a memorization task.
On the contrary if there are foundational principles embedded within it, then the reason form A is followed by form B becomes apparent. Thus a loose assumption of competency can be inferred.
 
Is form training really necessary?

When I was 11, my brother-in-law taught me an open hand form "Bagua Quan" and a pole form "Pi Shou Gan". One day I got into a fight and didn't know how to use the information in my form. I complained to my brother-in-law. He stopped teaching me any more forms. Instead, he forced me to drill "1 step 3 punches" for the following 3 years.

IMO, to drill "1 step 3 punches" can be the best way to learn how to fight in a short period of time. Those 3 punches can be:

- jab, jab, cross.
- jab, cross, jab.
- jab, hook, hook.
- hook, hook, uppercut.
- hook, back fist, overhand.
- hook, uppercut, cross.
- ...

Is that pretty much what a boxer's training? If you can step in and throw 3 punches within 1 second (1/3 second per punch), you should have no problem in any fight.

 
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Is form training really necessary?

When I was 11, my brother-in-law taught me an open hand form "Bagua Quan" and a pole form "Pi Shou Gan". One day I got into a fight and didn't know how to use the information in my form. I complained to my brother-in-law. He stopped teaching me any more forms. Instead, he forced me to drill "1 step 3 punches" for the following 3 years.
We do a combination of both. The forms taught are foundational for the techniques that follow. Other systems may not do it this way, so may in fact not be needed.
 
We do a combination of both. The forms taught are foundational for the techniques that follow. Other systems may not do it this way, so may in fact not be needed.
When I trained Chinese wrestling, I was forced to use "knee seize (single leg)" on the mat for 6 months. In one Chicago tournament, I used "knee seize (single leg)" to win 7 rounds in a role.

Concentrate on few techniques do have advantage. Old saying said, " I don't care how many techniques that you know. I do care how well that you can use a particular technique".

When you are good at one technique, all the possible counters are already in your head. You know how to deal with all those counters.

 
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When I trained Chinese wrestling, I was forced to use "knee seize (single leg)" on the mat for 6 months. In one Chicago tournament, I used "knee seize (single leg)" to win 7 rounds in a role.

Concentrate on few techniques do have advantage. Old saying said, " I don't care how many techniques that you know. I do care how well that you understand on a particular technique".
I agree. When a student demonstrates proficiency in the techniques taught, then it triggers the promotion test so that the student can learn the next form and techniques. The forms taught reinforce the techniques taught, but also teach things like rhythm, timing, breathing and balance.
 
I agree. When a student demonstrates proficiency in the techniques taught, then it triggers the promotion test so that the student can learn the next form and techniques. The forms taught reinforce the techniques taught, but also teach things like rhythm, timing, breathing and balance.
You start from a technique A (beginner level training). You then use technique A to set up technique B (intermediate or advance level training) when your opponent escapes out of your 1st attack.

I wish all forms are design this way. move 1 sets up move 2, move 2 sets up move 3, ... Unfortunately, some forms are just designed as a punch to the east, and then a punch to the north, ....



 
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You start from a technique A (beginner level training). You then use technique A to set up technique B (intermediate or advance level training) when your opponent escapes out of your 1st attack.

We start from a grab defense, then an attack in the first form. One step is a step away, block, strike.
 
So please correct me, as I am new to Dr Yangs version of Shaolin white crane. Dr Yang says that the white crane he teaches contains a great deal of wing chun. I never trained wingchun so my experience is limited to wing chun people that I knew and sparred with once upon a time. The stances and theory seems somewhat similar to me. Keep in mind that I am adding white crane to my main practice as an additional tool and not a stand alone system. My main system is mainly southern influences but also contains a good deal of longfist as well. So far, it seems to be a useful addition to my tool box. Part of the system leads into chin na techniques and sets them up really very well. I dont plan on attempting to teach this to my students as I am new. The thing is, many of my training brothers and a couple of my students now train concurrently in both systems. How can my system not be affected by this when so many of us are incorporating the two? For my part, I dont see additions and evolutions in concepts as a bad thing. It causes me to wonder what our system/style might be/look like in the future.
Everything that you do will affect everything else that you do. This can be either a good thing or a bad thing or both or it depends.

One thing that I emphasize is consistency. Consistency in your methodology helps ensure your body responds efficiently every time and does not get confused in the middle of a technique. I need to punch this guy. Do I generate the power using the White Crane method or the Wing Chun method? Either way can give you a strong punch, but if your body can't decide which method to use because you keep switching back and forth between them, you do both halfway at the same time and it can be ineffectual. You confuse your response.

Training in several methods can be a good thing, but often the end goal is to decide which method is the best one for you to follow, not to keep practicing multiple systems forever. That broad exposure remains valuable, but finding the best choice for you is where you want to end up. Some systems work together pretty well because they are functionally similar. Others are different enough while using similar techniques that it can create confusion. I experienced this directly when I was training White Crane and Kenpo at the same time. Our fundamental punching drills were different enough that I was doing something midway between them and it was wrong in both cases. My kenpo teacher would tell me "quit rotating, square up your shoulders" and my white crane sifu would tell me "you need to rotate more, it isn't enough". Both were wrong. Suddenly I realized I needed to make a choice because practicing one was undermining the other. It is like if I need to drive to San Francisco but I can't decide which route to take. So I go part way on one route and then change my mind and go back home and start on the other route, and then change my mind again. i never make it to San Francisco. If I stick with a route, I will get there. Either training method will help me develop a powerful punch, but only if I stick with it. So decide which one is the best one for you.

You can blend elements from other systems, but you need to be careful how you do it. The new elements need to work within the foundational method and framework of your system, or you can decide that the new system you are learning is actually better and you switch over. If the new material cannot function within that framework, it might be a mistake to blend in those elements. It takes thought and deliberation to recognize when NOT to add something, when the common response is that people always want more. Sometimes more equals clutter and is not always a good idea.

Dr. Yang has a good reputation and I am sure is a wealth of information. You are lucky to be able to train with him. As you go, keep in mind these issues and see how it might come together. Maybe not all of it is a good fit, but some of it can be. Or maybe you will switch over and embrace his methods completely. Evaluate as you go and in the meantime, soak up the lessons.
 
My kenpo teacher would tell me "quit rotating, square up your shoulders" and my white crane sifu would tell me "you need to rotate more, it isn't enough".
I had the same problem when I started to train WC. My

- long fist training wants me to line up my back hand, back shoulder, front shoulder, front hand as a perfect straight line (maximum reach).
- WC training wants me to maintain 90-degree angle between my punching arm and my shoulder (both hands have the same reach).

Even today, I still think there is no way to integrate long fist and WC together. My both hands may have the same reach by using the WC method. But I can reach farther distance with my long fist method.

long_fist_punch_1.jpg


wc_punch.jpg
 
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Everything that you do will affect everything else that you do. This can be either a good thing or a bad thing or both or it depends.

One thing that I emphasize is consistency. Consistency in your methodology helps ensure your body responds efficiently every time and does not get confused in the middle of a technique. I need to punch this guy. Do I generate the power using the White Crane method or the Wing Chun method? Either way can give you a strong punch, but if your body can't decide which method to use because you keep switching back and forth between them, you do both halfway at the same time and it can be ineffectual. You confuse your response.

Training in several methods can be a good thing, but often the end goal is to decide which method is the best one for you to follow, not to keep practicing multiple systems forever. That broad exposure remains valuable, but finding the best choice for you is where you want to end up. Some systems work together pretty well because they are functionally similar. Others are different enough while using similar techniques that it can create confusion. I experienced this directly when I was training White Crane and Kenpo at the same time. Our fundamental punching drills were different enough that I was doing something midway between them and it was wrong in both cases. My kenpo teacher would tell me "quit rotating, square up your shoulders" and my white crane sifu would tell me "you need to rotate more, it isn't enough". Both were wrong. Suddenly I realized I needed to make a choice because practicing one was undermining the other. It is like if I need to drive to San Francisco but I can't decide which route to take. So I go part way on one route and then change my mind and go back home and start on the other route, and then change my mind again. i never make it to San Francisco. If I stick with a route, I will get there. Either training method will help me develop a powerful punch, but only if I stick with it. So decide which one is the best one for you.

You can blend elements from other systems, but you need to be careful how you do it. The new elements need to work within the foundational method and framework of your system, or you can decide that the new system you are learning is actually better and you switch over. If the new material cannot function within that framework, it might be a mistake to blend in those elements. It takes thought and deliberation to recognize when NOT to add something, when the common response is that people always want more. Sometimes more equals clutter and is not always a good idea.

Dr. Yang has a good reputation and I am sure is a wealth of information. You are lucky to be able to train with him. As you go, keep in mind these issues and see how it might come together. Maybe not all of it is a good fit, but some of it can be. Or maybe you will switch over and embrace his methods completely. Evaluate as you go and in the meantime, soak up the lessons.
I can tell you now that I wont switch my method completely. The way Im approaching it is in the same way I approach my Tai Chi Chuan training or Chin na. Im looking for complementary concepts primarily. Im enough of an elitist pig that I think quite a lot of my primary focus on Wing Woo Gar. These things are not mutually exclusive, but I have over 25 years in my primary art so Im not likely to be fundamentally changed by this experience with white crane. In fact, Ive had my belief in my primary system strengthened by the experience. This has everything to do with my focus on balance, structure, posture, coordination, and fitness. It allows me to apply more of my focused skills to any set of new movements. To my simple mind, its all just using the body to accomplish a set of motions efficiently.
 
This thread is specifically aimed at folks who teach or train a style that uses forms, but does not use a colored belt system to measure the curriculum. How do forms work in your curriculum? How do students know which forms to learn, or how do instructors know which ones to teach? Does it matter what order students learn them in?
I got to green sash in Kung Fu and am the equivalent of a 1st or 2nd Dan in Kali (instructor level). It these styles, there is not a belt progression as you know it. Things are taught in a building block approach where motions and techniques are added along the students progressive path. Of course, this varies from person to person based on ability and time investment.
There are 'forms' or pattern in both styles that get incrementally longer or more complex as a person progresses. In my long fist style of Kung Fu, there were only five patterns that could be considered a form, but they clearly and incrementally built off of each other.
In Kali, it is all about the footwork, and hand arm movement. Not a lot of power building per se.

Knowing what to work on comes directly from the instructor. Refinement is always on the student. At this point, the instructors job is to correct and critique, not teach a new movement.

Yes, there is/was always a specific order as to how and when new material was added.
 

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